Pentagon puts $10B JEDI cloud contract on hold

Defense Secretary Mark Esper's decision to further review program follows complaints from President Trump about the contracting process.

The Pentagon on Thursday said it's pressing pause on the $10 billion cloud computing contract known as JEDI. Defense Secretary Mark Esper's decision to further review program follows complaints from President Trump about the contracting process.

"Secretary Esper is committed to ensuring our warfighters have the best capabilities, including Artificial Intelligence, to remain the most lethal force in the world, while safeguarding taxpayer dollars," Pentagon spokesperson Elissa Smith said in a statement, as Politico reports. "Keeping his promise to Members of Congress and the American public, Secretary Esper is looking at the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) program. No decision will be made on the program until he has completed his examination."

Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services were the remaining two bidders for the winner-take-all contract. However, late last month, Trump said he has heard "tremendous complaints" from "some of the greatest companies in the world."

"They are saying it wasn't competitively bid," the said. "I will be asking them to look at it very closely to see what's going on because I have had very few things where there has been such complaining."

Google dropped out of the JEDI bidding process late last year, while Oracle and IBM were eliminated from the JEDI running in April. Oracle officials protested the bidding process and filed a lawsuit over it late last year, claiming the Defense Department violated procurement laws. When a federal judge dismissed the suit last month, it appeared the contract would go to either Microsoft or Amazon. 

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) Cloud contract could be worth more than $10 billion over 10 years. It's expected to include both IaaS and PaaS services in classified and unclassified environments.